Sinn Féin - On Your Side

O’Dowd challenges parties on education

18 May, 2008

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education John O'Dowd today said that the proposals put forward by the Minister Caitriona Ruane on post primary transfer offer a sensible way to proceed.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"We have now reached a position were the Minister has completed an extensive consultation with all of the Educational stakeholders and published proposals based on these meetings. There is little doubt that the vast majority of educationalists support the direction outlined by the Minister.

"The DUP are the only other party to bring forward any proposals. Any basic analysis of the DUP plan clearly shows that if implemented they would result in the closure of many schools. The DUP need to tell us which schools they wish to close or alternatively admit what many believe that their proposals have neither been well thought out nor costed.

"The UUP seem to be adopting an ostrich like approach. Ignoring the reality of demographic decline and increasing levels of educational underachievement they seem to believe that we can proceed with no change. Their position is nonsensical.

"The SDLP have a party policy of opposing academic selection and children making choices at 14. Yet despite the current proposals delivering this scenario spokesperson Dominic Bradley has yet to make a positive contribution to this debate preferring to ally himself with reactionary unionists and engage in political attacks to the point where many people actually question whether Mr Bradley supports the end of academic selection at all.

"Now is the time for the politicking which has marked the approach of the other parties to end. Now is the time for decisions to be made and decisive action taken. People who support the ending of academic selection at 11 need to make their voices heard. But the reality remains that the status quo will simply not be remaining." ENDS

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